Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Kickstarter Project

My Kickstarter project is officially underway!  I'm calling it A Year In Pattern of course.  And the goal is to raise enough funds to be able to hire a part time studio assistant and make this 52 week commitment a REALITY!
Things are going smashingly well so far and I'm really feeling the love.  :)  Please check it out and be sure to watch the videos for a good giggle.  (I am definitely not a filmmaker!)
Back me if you can and you will get to follow along with secret peeks at all my patterns and trials and triumphs!  Even if you can't back the project, be sure to grab a link or button and put me out into the world wide web.  Facebook it, tweet it and blog about it.  Let's make this happen!  I can't do it without you.  We have 24 more days to get full funding or nothing goes through.  So shout it from the rooftops people!  :)
Oh, and happy Thanksgiving!

a fun new pattern I just finished inspired by all my backers!

Please right click and take a button!  :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

It's 90% Customer Service

Running your own business really is at least 90% about customer service.  You could have the most amazing widget in the world, but if you don't handle your business properly people won't care.  Another thing that is a somewhat icky side affect of running a business is that occasionally you are going to have unhappy customers.
Now, let me turn that around a bit and tell you all that I love my 'unhappy' customers!
I know that sounds weird, but I've been in some form of customer service since I started working at 17, and I can tell you that a mistake or mishap is a HUGE opportunity to make a life-long and very vocally positive customer!

Of course I hate for anyone to not be happy with their purchase, but if it takes a reasonable loss on my part to make it right then that is what I do. And if they choose to leave nasty feedback anyway then that's a reflection on their character, not my service. It almost NEVER happens if you do what you are supposed to ethically.

And if you fix the problem then not only do they like your artwork, but they TRUST you as a person and business owner and you can't get that from a perfect transaction!
Just a little business 411 for ya!  :)  Have a fantabulous weekend.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

2012 Illustrated Calendars

The 2012 Ferntree Studio calendars are now live on Etsy!  I created 2 different calendars, one Knobby Knee version with all the fun characters, and a Floral version for a more adult (but still super fun!) feel.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fall Family Time

We took Little Man and went into the north GA mountains this past weekend.  First we visited Helen, which is a very surreal recreated Bavarian village, complete with German residents!  I've been going there since I was a kid, and it's somewhat of a tradition.  I wish I could show you pics of the village, but since I was looking for photos that included my family there really aren't any gratuitous building shots.  You can see it here though.  What I did get was a great family photo (well except for the photographer, as per usual!) and a few cute pics of a cockatoo that a street performer had.

This is one of my favorites.  It's call 'get down off my daddy!'.

Once we left Helen, we went up to Burt's Pumpkin Farm; another tradition.  Oh my did he have fun running around and trying to push these huge pumpkins!

'Help push me pumpkin Daddy!'

A perfect fall family outing!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Unsettled and That's Okay

I can only speak for myself really, but I don't think for one minute that I'm the only artist out there that goes through this. That feeling of being unsettled. Maybe it's an Aries thing. We are forever the starters who never feel like finishing. I have gone through dozens of projects that get to a certain point of 'finished' where I realize that I have somewhat mastered a new skill, and then I put them away or toss them aside because that was all I was really after. The knowledge that I could do that new thing, not that I really wanted to do it. And perhaps that's what's going on now. That feeling of needing to not really DO everything, but know that I CAN. When I see another artist's fantastic new work or exciting new medium, and I feel inadequate or unaccomplished because it's not ME. It's not me that knows how to invoke deep feelings in the viewer, it's not me who's getting that big licensing deal, it's not me every single freakin time. That's where I realize how stupid this is, because I'm not everybody for cryin' out loud, I'm just one person. But I think I know that I have the capability to do these things, and I either don't have the interest or the time or even the thought of them until I see someone else do it first. And then I'm like 'damn it'. Anybody got a brick wall I can bang my head against?

And then I get unsettled. All of the sudden (well that's relative since it happens quite often) what I am doing, what I am GOOD at, isn't what I want any more. Not that I don't still love it, but I feel like I should also be doing something else, or something more. I must conquer all! Ooo, how very old European dictator of me. Ha! Sometimes I follow this urge to do something more or be some other kind of artist, and I spend an afternoon creating a new kind of art. Usually I really like the result, but very rarely do I feel like I want to do it again tomorrow. I always seem to circle back around to my illustrations. Clean, hand drawn, colorful and humorous. They make me smile every single time. And the funny thing is that they aren't even the kind of art that I choose to decorate my home with. I am drawn to things with texture and age and intricate complexity. But when I create the art, it's always the simple things that burst out of my veins. Empty space and a quiet moment put to paper. Pure color and slightly off kilter lines. An honesty that isn't hidden amongst layers and layers of stain and scratches. I'm not sure what that says about me. Ah well, I have 50 odd years to think on that and still never figure it out.

So, I guess I'm okay with being unsettled. I guess I'm okay with being inspired by the jealous feelings I get when I see another artist's beautiful gift. Because ultimately, it all helps to reassure me that what comes out of my hands is truly mine.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tutorial - Mixed Media and Collage

I am officially migrating over to my very own website... www.FerntreeStudio.com

Today I have a special tutorial for you on a mixed media / collage piece I created. Please hop on over and enjoy! Make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed at the new site so you can continue receiving my blog posts!!! :)



Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sweet Sunday Mornings

I awoke this morning to the sound of little feet. Richard, my almost 2 year old, came running in the bedroom and threw his arms up in the air for me to hoist him into bed with me. There we lay for probably most of an hour, safe under the billowing white duvet, tucked in between the flannel sheets, curled up together. Well, me, him, teddy and a sippy cup of milk, but whatever. :)

Even though his eyes were closed, every once and a while I would hear a whisper... 'Mama?' I'd softly reply...'Richard.' He'd smile every time, little eyes still shut tight.

Best. Morning. Ever.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Nosegays - Foerever Flowers for Your Forever Sweetheart

I love creating flowers for weddings, but Valentine's Day offers inspiration for another wonderful paper flower item, Nosegays! They're mini bouquets; 3-4 flowers each.

I've taken them over to the Beehive here in Atlanta as part of my Valentine's Day setup. I think these are fabulous for those of us who aren't fond of fresh flowers for one reason or another. These flowers are forever!

What I love the most are the whimsical touches I was able to add to the ribbon wrapped stems. I wrapped them with satin ribbons in hues of red, olive green, cornflower blue, or black and then I went rummaging through my stash of lace, trims and rikrak I got from my grandmother. Each nosegay has a carefully selected piece of romantic trim, and a few were even lucky enough to be adorned with a whimsical bumble bee, white dove or glittery butterfly. They all turned out just fall-over adorable. Love!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Obsessed with Mixed Media

Okay, so here's yet another new mixed media original. I'm in Christmas present overload. I was able to get some really fantastic new art supplies (read 'toys'!) with money and gift cards for Christmas and I am just having way too much fun! I have been wanting to go a different direction with my artwork (not that I'm abandoning my usual modern cartoony style, hells no!), just to grow and learn and add some texture and layers to what I do. I'm not 100% there yet, but I'll know it when I hit on what feels like 'me'. For now though, I think this ain't half bad!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

And Now For Something Totally Different

I've been going through some mixed media magazines, websites, etc this past couple weeks and got inspired to create this piece. A big departure from my usual work. I like it!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sunday, January 9, 2011

On Seeking Out Others Like Me

I've recently started reading Kelly Rae Robert's E-book, Flying Lessons. I believe it's important to study or learn from other people that are a bit ahead of you in the journey you have chosen to take. I know some artists that fear losing their own identity by absorbing and somehow copying another artist just because they wanted to learn from them. I think that's total hogwash. Now I'm not saying there aren't copiers out there, because there are. Like, serious Xerox copiers. But they know who they are, and if you have the conscience enough to be concerned about being one, then you aren't. Everyone struggles to find their own voice or style. Even the master painters studied and learned by 'copying' the masters that came before them. In the end they found their own style and only incorporated the lessons learned from others that spoke to them and helped them to grow. So, that being said, I have a handful of blogs I follow that I read almost every day and just soak soak soak up everything they have to put out into the world. I am a total sponge and love finding inspiration in other creatives that have had success at this whole crazy artist thing.

Here are my favorite blogs...







Oh, and here's that fantastic E-book I told you about...


Friday, January 7, 2011

Giveaway at Adventures In Love And Happiness

Just a big FYI that Nicole over at Adventures In Love And Happiness is running a giveaway this week for 2 of my inspirational pieces!

Good luck!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Prints and Valentine's

I've been creating away like a little artist worker bee (don't let me fool you I LOVE it). Here are some new Valentine's related pieces, plus my first ever kid's Valentine's cards! These are the cute little ones you remember giving away to your classmates as a child. Oh, the anticipation of opening up that bedazzled shoebox to see who wanted you to be their Valentine! :)